• en

Alfred Kemapado: We Cannot Confirm Reports Of Casualties In Igbomotoru, Bayelsa, Because Nobody Can Access the Community

The military has cordoned off Igbomotoru community in Bayelsa State as it Intensifies its search for murderers of 16 soldiers.

The former Head of Reintegration of the Presidential Amnesty Program, Alfred Kemapado, has said that the reports of people being killed, and houses being razed in the Igbomotoru community in Bayelsa State are yet to be verified or substantiated because the military has not granted access to the community.

Kemapado revealed this in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday while discussing the tragic ambush and murder of soldiers of the 181 Battalion who were on their way to Okuama community to carry out a peace mission between the Okuama and the Okoloba communities due to a land dispute.

Although the Nigerian military has denied reports that they are behind the ongoing violence in Igbomotoru, more reports continue to come out blaming the military attacks in the community which are said to be related to the retaliatory attacks in Okuama.

Speaking on the alleged reports, Kemapado said, “Report has it that some of the perpetrators of the act in Okuama area were being traced to the Igbomotoru area of Bayelsa State. And I can confirm to you that whatever we are hearing is unconfirmed, because there is no access to the area by our indigenes.

“That’s why I will continue to condole and mourn with the military but continue to appeal that these videos we are seeing come out to be very untrue at the end of the day. But if it is in any way close to the truth, please, my appeal is that, let’s take it easy. It’s bad enough that we’ve lost this cream of soldiers. While we bring the perpetrators to book, let’s not lose more innocent lives.”

Kemapado said, “We have videos, we have pictures of people that are lying in the pool of their blood, and we have also seen videos of houses being razed and all the sorts. So, at the end of the day, what we are saying as we are mourning with the military and other security agencies is that, yes, we will join, and we are calling on all stakeholders to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. But in the course of that, let’s tame our anger.

“I know security agencies have been trained with respect to anger management, so that the videos and the reports we are getting now, finally, when access is granted, will turn out not to be true. But for now, the videos, and the pictures, and the information they are getting now, they are worrisome. And I think that is why even the commissioner of police in Bayelsa State has come to say he has not received an official report.”

He however said, “I don’t have the instrument or whatever it takes to verify the videos and that is why I said originally that we pray that these videos and pictures we get turns out not to be true at the end of the day.”

Calling for an end to the violence, he said, “I just join the Bayelsa State government to call on communities and relevant stakeholders to avail whatever assistance in the form of information or any other structure to ensure that we bring the perpetrators to book. I say so because in the course of hunting and trying to catch up with these perpetrators and bring them to law, it will not be necessary for us to lose more lives- if you can say, innocent lives, let’s not lose more.”

Giving his recommendations to end terrorist attacks in the country, Kemapado said, “This kinetic approach to security has to be slowed down. This show of if there is crime or criminality somewhere, and the first approach is kinetic, let’s go there and finish them. You can’t finish anybody. Look at how long the issue of Boko Haram and other things have festered over the years. It’s not working.”

He said that issues such as these need to be addressed from the root, stating that the unemployed population would not be available for nonstate actors to recruit if there were job opportunities for them. He then urged that the government should look for ways to create jobs to mop up the unemployment population.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

Follow us on: